Aston Martin makes long-awaited move for IPO in London
Aston Martin said existing investors will sell shares in the IPO, leading to about 25% of the company’s stock trading on the London Stock Exchange
London: James Bond’s favourite car is seeking a parking spot in London’s financial district.
Aston Martin Holdings (UK) Ltd, the British maker of sports cars in movies from Goldfinger to Skyfall, is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in London. The move, said to target a valuation of as much as £5 billion ($6.4 billion), would capture a similar luxury brand premium similar to that enjoyed by Ferrari NV following its listing.
The IPO will allow the luxury carmaker’s existing shareholders to cash in, though it won’t provide the company with additional funds—even as Aston Martin seeks to double output to around 14,000 cars a year and invests in electric vehicles. The listing, made possible by a turnaround under chief executive officer Andy Palmer, would also test investor optimism in the country’s post-Brexit automotive industry.
“Clearly there’s a great comparator out there and it’s Ferrari,” chief financial officer Mark Wilson said in a phone interview. “We’re going for a premium listing.”
Ferrari trades at about 36 times its estimated 2018 earnings, compared with about 7.3 times forecast profit for members of the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts index.
Palmer, a former executive at Nissan Motor Co. who took over the top job at Aston Martin in 2014, has focused on introducing new models like the coming DBX sports utility vehicle due next year and the popular $200,000 DB11. He also plans to revive the Lagonda supercar brand with a range of electric vehicles focusing on the ultra-luxury segment with SUVs and sedans. Production rates have lifted to the highest level since the 2008 financial crash, and will rise to as many as 7,300 cars next year.
The 105-year-old company said it will file a registration document with the UK Financial Conduct Authority on Wednesday, a new requirement for companies considering an IPO, and will decide by about 20 September whether to proceed, it said. Separately, Chinese electric carmaker NIO Inc., which started selling cars in China late last year, said it’s planning a U.S. share sale that would give it a valuation topping $8 billion—highlighting the sector’s quickening transformation to electric vehicles.
Controlled by Investindustrial Advisors Ltd and Kuwaiti Investment Dar, Aston Martin said existing investors will sell shares in the IPO, leading to about 25% of the company’s stock trading on the London Stock Exchange.
Neither investor plans to exit completely, Palmer said in a June interview. Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG, which a 4.9% holding, plans to keep its stake in the potential listing.
Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs International and J.P. Morgan Securities Plc are arranging the Aston Martin IPO. Lazard is financial adviser to the company.
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